If you want to read a fascinating by scary book, read End the Fed by Ron Paul. When I say scary, I mean his description of what can happen to the United States. I took one look at the money supply chart on page 9 and was shocked. At first I didn't even notice the incredible spike at the end of this decade.
Paul covers a lot of information about the history of the Federal Reserve Board, his own history of how he got involved in economics and politics, and doesn't hold back on his opinions of Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke. One area that he covers in depth is gold, silver coins, copper pennies, and the gold standard. He discusses the recent economic crises, and gives very strong reasons why we should get rid of the Fed, philosophically, constitutionally, economically, and from a libertarian standpoint.
End the Fed is an easy read, and easy to understand. I highly recommend it.